Sunday, January 24, 2010

Review (giveaway already underway): The Survivors Club

I have to admit, I'm an avoider. I don't like to watch the news or think about sad things or read sad books or in any way interact with things that are not cheerful.  But that's not really a good way of handling life, and now that I'm a mom, I've been sort of rethinking my avoidance. Because, life is complicated and scary things happen- illnesses, car accidents, crime, job loss- and it's better to be prepared mentally than to be caught offguard by these things.

So I was really glad to have the chance, through my involvement at the Product Review Place, to review this extraordinary book, The Survivors Club: The Secrets and Science that Could Save Your Life.  From the book's website:

In tough times, who bounces back and who doesn’t?  Who overcomes adversity and who gives up? And perhaps most important: What do survivors and thrivers know about beating the odds that the rest of us don’t? These are the questions that award-winning journalist Ben Sherwood explores in The Survivors Club from Grand Central Publishing.

I think we've all seen examples of this on the news this week- people being pulled from the rubble in Haiti after being buried for 11 days? What gives those people the strength to go on when so many others have died? This book discusses those situations and contains so many stories of people who survived in situations when others around them did not. It talks about  faith, luck, resilience, and fear and why those things are important.

I received this book the day before my daughter and I flew cross-country to see my parents, so the first chapter that I read was the one entitled "Ninety Seconds to Save Your Life: The wrong (and right) things to do in a plane crash."  While I would not recommend reading stories of plane crashes the night before flying with your baby, it really did affect my actions when I travel. I've been flying since I was a small child, so I'd become one of those people who don't pay attention to the safety talk or look to find the exits. But this chapter talked about the people who survive plane crashes, and the things that they have in common. It talks about the most dangerous parts of the flights, and the importance of being aware of where you are and where the exit is and just being alert to what's going on.  I spent the time before the plane took off counting the rows to the exits around me, and mentally coaching myself about what I would do if I needed to get myself and Vivian out quickly. And that gave me a certain sense of relief- that if the worst happened, I would at least have a plan.

I also really like the online Survivor IQ test that comes along with this book. You go through a number of sets of questions, and at the end it gives you information on your survivor personality and your survivor strengths. My results were pretty much what I expected, but the information on why that would help me survive was really fascinating. As soon as my husband gets home, I'm going to make him take the test too.

I recommend this book highly- information is a powerful thing and being prepared for the scary times can only help us prevail.

Enter my giveaway here- I'm giving away 5 copies of the book (US/Canadian mailing addresses). Giveaway ends 1/28.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for review. I was not compensated in any other way and all opinions here are mine and mine alone.